Reporting Mike Binkley
WILLOW RIVER, Minn. (WCCO) – A great grandmother is recovering from a head wound after a violent robbery inside The Corral Bar in Willow River one week ago.
Two strangers wearing masks demanded that Geri Youngberg, 73, open the bar’s safe, then pistol-whipped her when she was unable to produce the money.
“I said ‘The safe just locked…I can’t open it, I don’t have the combination,’” she said, “so then he drug me, hit me in the arm, pulled me in the arm.”
She was telling the truth about the safe, but one of the robbers still slammed his gun against her head, causing a wound that took five staples to close.
“He said, ‘Open it up, open it up.’ I said, ‘I don’t have the combination…I mean it,’” Youngberg said.
The robbers had to settle for Youngberg’s purse, which they dumped out. They took a billfold inside, which had about $100 in cash, her credit cards and her grandkids’ pictures.
“The money doesn’t matter,” she said, “but my life…Thank the good ol’ Lord.”
Bob Ketchmark has owned the Corral Bar since 1978, and he said Youngberg “came with the place.” She has been tending bar there for nearly 40 years.
“I mean they had to be some really bad people, huh?” Ketchmark said. “Tough people to attack a 73-year-old woman and the pistol whip her, too.”
The regulars have come through with many flowers and cards, and Youngberg needs that companionship, now more than ever.
She hopes to keep working at the bar.
“Talking to people and stuff like that, it’s better for me, I think, than being home,” she said.
Youngberg said she only got a good look at the man who pistol-whipped her; the other person stayed to the other side of the room.
She said the gunman is about 6-feet-tall, probably in his 40s or 50s based on the wrinkles she could see through the holes in his mask.
The other robber, she said, was much shorter and didn’t say a word, so she’s not sure whether it was a man or a woman.
If you know anything about this crime, you can contact the Pine County Sheriff’s Office at 320-629-8380.